TURKEY – Istanbul, The Grand Bazaar // From Russia with Love (1963) & Skyfall (2012)
Istanbuls Kapalı Çarşı is one of the world’s biggest covered markets. His bustling alleys and small shops well-nigh invite to either play a 007 hide and seek or totally wreck havoc on a motorcycle chase – both what Bond did in two visits here.
Why Bond was here
When played by Sean Connery, 007 traveled to Istanbul to get his hands both on a Russian encryption device and the spy Tatiana Romanova. The latter is offering him the machine as a somewhat wedding gift to get her out of Russia with Love – sure it’s an agents play to lure Bond into a trap. But instead of the Russians the mischievous organization Spectre is behind the plot.
However the enemy, Bond has his helpers in Turkey: mainly Karim Bey, head of the Turkish secret service. His office is hidden between the narrow alleys of Kapalı Çarşı – the Grand Bazaar. When Bond meets Bey for the first time, he makes his way through carpet sellers and little indoor fountains. Also at the Bazaar is the scene, where Spectre villain Rosa Klebb recruits Romanova: it’s the beautiful merchant patio Zincirli Han.
How you gonna get there
Kapalı Çarşı is situated right in the heart of the old town part of mega city Istanbul as it became the vibrant centre of Ottoman conquered Constantinople and still is for todays merchants. The best way to access the Bazaar is via tram. Line T1 is running from the alive-and-kicking Beyoğlu along the touristic Sultanahmet to the Bazaar. You get either get of at Çarsikapi to enter the Bazaar from the East or at the closer Beyazıt to enter form it’s western side.
Another option would be to walk your way up from Eminönü, where some of the Skyfall action took place and enter the market from the north. There you’ll find both Zincirli Han and the window, Daniel Craig rushed through.
The Bazaar has more than 3,000 shops that offer both trinkets and gems. It’s not always easy to distinguish between them. Some of the best jewelry and wrought-iron works are found in the western part of the Bazaar. Soaps and bathhouse items same as antiquities are placed in the middle. There you’ll also find some decent cafés to sip on a Turkish coffee or Çay – the mint sweetened black tea.
In general for Middle Eastern markets it’s good to look out for smaller hidden shops, sometimes on the second floor of a Han – former caravansaries turned into handcraft areas. There the craftsmen naturally offer cheaper prices than the sellers in the flashiest and best-placed shops of the Bazaar.
We took Kapalı Çarşı as a break for sweets and coffee. Believe it or not, the bustling Bazaar can be a beautiful resting spot. Famous are Fes café and Havuzlu restaurant. But maybe we needed it after we tried to fight our way onto the roof of the Bazaar earlier that day…
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,4), © 2012 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries. Inc. (2), 1963 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (3)